What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a legal document that gives law enforcement officers the authority to arrest a person and hold them in custody. It may include the following critical details:
- The person to be arrested
- The criminal offense the person to be arrested is accused of committing
- When and where the warrant of arrest was issued
- The judge who approved the warrant, and their signature
- Details of when and where the order can be executed
- Information on the amount of bail that can be posted
Once the police have an arrest warrant, they can execute it by taking the suspect into custody based on the specified terms. If police officers present a warrant of arrest against you and you’re unsure why you’re being arrested, contact skilled lawyers from a reputable Colorado criminal litigation law firm. They can advise you on your legal rights and options.
What Are the Different Types of Arrest Warrants?
Colorado has two special arrest warrants, as explained by criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs:
1. Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an order issued on behalf of the state to allow a law enforcement officer to arrest a person and place them under custody. It is initiated by the police when they suspect someone of committing a crime. A police officer begins the process of an arrest warrant by swearing an affidavit to a judge.
2. Bench Warrants
A bench warrant instructs the police to apprehend someone for violating a court order. Contrary to arrest warrants that are instigated by the police, bench warrants originate from the court when an accused person violates court orders in some of the following ways:
- Not appearing at a court hearing
- Not paying a traffic citation
- Failure to pay court-ordered child support
- Not performing court-ordered community service
- Not meeting court-ordered probation
- Not responding to a jury duty summons
The problem with a bench warrant is that you likely won’t know you have one, as courts may not send you a notice. The easiest way to determine if you have a warrant is to look up your name on Colorado Warrant Search. Contact skilled lawyers from a Colorado Springs criminal litigation firm to decide on your next steps if you find that you have one.
How Do I Quash a Bench Warrant?
You can get rid of a bench warrant to avoid getting arrested and facing other legal consequences, such as losing your driver’s license. Skilled criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs can help you file a motion to quash the warrant, asking the judge to recall the warrant. Doing so puts your case back on the judge’s docket. You can only use this option if you didn’t appear for arraignment.
How Do Police Officers Obtain Arrest Warrants?
For police officers to obtain an arrest warrant, they must:
- Go to a judge, grand jury, or magistrate and
- Present probable cause that a suspected offender has committed a crime targeted by the warrant
A court will issue the warrant if the police can show probable cause.
The Principle of Probable Cause
Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, every arrest warrant must be supported by an oath declaring probable cause for the alleged offense. The definition of probable cause implies that the police must show that a crime likely happened. It is not proof of the crime, but there should be a reasonable basis to believe it happened.
Law enforcement officers must support their allegations with concrete evidence, enough for the judge to make a probable cause judgment. The accusation should not be general but can include evidence such as:
- Testimony given by a witness to a crime
- Results of an in-depth investigation
- Anonymous tips from members of the public
- Law enforcement statements about their interactions with the alleged suspect
The judge issuing an arrest warrant must be neutral and detached, meaning they should not know the suspect in any way. The judge doesn’t have to be a superior court judge, as magistrates and supervised court clerks can also issue an arrest warrant. Judges can lose their detachment from a case if they’re involved in the investigation or have a vested interest in it.
What Should I Do if an Arrest Warrant is Issued Against Me?
Once an arrest warrant is issued against you, the police execute it by finding you and physically arresting you before taking you to court for arraignment. Knowing your rights is crucial, and the arresting officer must advise you of the same, which includes:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to have an attorney present
- The right to be provided with an attorney if you can’t afford one
Remember to remain calm after an arrest, only answering basic questions about your identity. Try to seek the help of skilled criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs, CO, immediately. You should be arraigned in court as soon as possible, usually within 48 hours of your arrest.
Learn Your Legal Options Following the Issuance of an Arrest Warrant
Law enforcement officers often stumble on people with a warrant for their arrest. If the police ask for your identification, run it through their database, and find a “match,” they will execute the warrant and make an arrest. Contact skilled lawyers from a Colorado criminal litigation law firm to protect your rights if an arrest warrant has been issued against you.
The legal team at Lux Law Firm fights aggressively to defend clients facing criminal charges. We know how frightening it can be to be found on the wrong side of the law, and we don’t want you to feel alone. Our criminal defense attorneys can investigate your case, determine why an arrest warrant has been issued against you, and provide legal counsel on your options and rights. Call us at 719-451-7469 for a FREE case evaluation.